For many years, after I started following Jesus, I would pray that God would take me out of the circumstances when I was experiencing trouble, hardship, suffering or pain. I did not realize that He had allowed those situations for a purpose. I discovered many years later that I was actually praying for Him to take away the very things that were designed to strengthen me in my walk with the Lord. I no longer see suffering as a negative event in my life because He is always with me and I am getting to know Him more intimately. The fellowship I have with the Lord in those situations, no matter how long it may last, is more valuable than a lifestyle of comfort and ease. When my thoughts are distracted away from God it may seem harmless at first but eventually I feel the effect of my complacency. I am so grateful that regaining my awareness of His presence enables me to have fellowship with Him. In every form of adversity I can find contentment simply by enjoying the reality of His faithfulness.
“I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.”
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”